Scottish Liberal Democrats have today called for a “reinvigorated” cervical screening awareness campaign after new statistics confirmed that “uptake has declined in recent years”.
The number of tests processed in 2020/21 was half the normal rate, “at least in part due to the pausing of the screening programme in response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The figures, published by Public Health Scotland, also follow on from the public health scandal that has seen women wrongfully excluded from the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme, which has so far been linked to the deaths of three women, triggering a review of 200,000 medical records.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:
“It is worrying that so many tests aren’t being taken up and that women from more deprived areas are significantly less likely to take part.
“A reinvigorated cervical screening awareness campaign should be the cornerstone of work to detect cancer early. It could help reach the 3 in 10 eligible women who aren’t participating in these life-saving screenings.
“This must sit alongside the critical work to find all the women who have been wrongfully excluded from the programme altogether – errors that amount to nothing less than a public health scandal.”